Review: The Wrath & The Dawn
The Wrath & The Dawn is a retelling of Arabian Nights told within a fantasy world. Khorsan is ruled by an eighteen year old king or caliph, Khalid who takes a new bride each day only to have her killed the following morning. The future brides are chosen at random throughout the city, but when her best friend is subject to the Caliph’s cruelty, Shahrzad (or Shazi) offers herself as his next bride. Shahrzad plan is to make Khalid pay for the pain he has caused Khorsan and for killing her best friend. She creates wonderful, intricate stories each night to tell, but holds a little back each morning so he will continue to seek more from her until she can find a way to end his life. However, as she wraps Khalid within her stories, she becomes more enraptured by him and is determined to understand why he kills his brides.
The city is bewildered as the King’s newest bride survives her first morning, and then the next, until she has been alive long enough to spur theories about the Caliph’s feelings. However, there is unrest brewing in the city with Shahrzad’s first love, Tariq, is planning to overthrow the king and rescue Shazi. The readers also get glimpses of Shahrzad’s father becoming more and more obsessed with rescuing his daughter that he begins to delve into dark magic and lose his own humanity.
This book is full of a cast of diverse characters that can fit into the hands of those students who love fairy tale retellings, even if they aren’t familiar with Arabian Nights, they are sure to be interested to find out the mystery of Khalid and to see if Shahrzad succeeds in her plan. The world that Ahdieh has created is fully developed with characters having traditional Arabic names and locations being described in full detail. There were many times as I was reading descriptions of the palace that I needed to pause and imagine the magnificent rooms being described. There are multiple perspectives within the story that lends a unique element to this story, Shahrzad is the main character that readers are with the most, but there are times we find out what Tariq is up to, glimpses of Khalid and his mystery, and Shahrzad’s father delving into dark magic. Readers never stay too long with Khalid and Shahrzad’s father to fully understand what they are doing or going through.
This is a book that will stand out from the shelves due to its unique spin on its retelling of the Arabian Nights, the cast of diverse characters, and the mystery of Khalid that will keep readers turning the pages to find out what happens.
The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. 9780399171611. May 12th, 2015. Gr 9-12.
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